City Scape

It’s Not a Shortage of Skilled Labour: How a Shortage of Skilled Supervisors Degrades Assets

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Original date: 
Monday, November 22, 2021

There are many reports of skilled labour shortages affecting organizations ability to sustain assets. 

However conventional solutions to address the “labour shortage” won’t work, in part because every company has its own unique requirements, and in part because it is solving the wrong problem.
The underlying problem is that our front-line leaders – supervisors, foremen, charge hands, etc. – do not have the skills they need to effectively train or lead.

When supervisors don’t have the skills to train well, companies compensate by trying to hire the skills, with limited success.

Front-line leaders need five core skills: instructing, improving, setting priorities, fostering performance, and listening. The most immediate need is often the skill of instructing. For this, the best solution for most companies is the Job Instruction module from the Training Within Industry program – a proven public-domain program. In a study of 600 companies using this approach, 100% of them saw their training time go down 25%. One client cut their time to get people up to speed by more than 60%.

In the world of asset management, better skills for asset managers and their supervisors can achieve significant gains - sometimes seemingly overnight.
This talk will provide asset management examples, and some suggestions on how you can get started to fix this.

When supervisors have better skills, especially in the area of instructing, you can expect the productivity of your asset management crews to improve rather than degrade over time.

BoK Content Source: 
Practitioner Produced
BoK Content Type: 
Presentation Slides
Asset Management Framework Subject: 
03 Lifecycle Delivery, 3.05 Maintenance Delivery, 3.08 Resource Management, 05 Organization & People, 5.05 Competence Management
Maintenance Management Framework Subject: 
07 Human Resource Management, 7.2 Education, Training & Development, 7.3 Skills & Qualification Mgmt, 7.4 Roles & Responsibilities
Author Title: 
Principle, Operations Excellence
Author Employer: 
Fisrt Line Training
Author Bio: 

Hugh Alley is the author of Becoming the Supervisor: Achieving Your Company’s Mission and Building Your Team. He thinks work ought to be good – good for the body, the spirit, and the company. He spent over 20 years in line positions supporting front line leaders or as a front-line leader himself. He has run the operations of three companies, and was co-owner of one.
Through his company, First Line Training, Hugh has taught core leadership skills to over 1,000 leaders.  He has regularly helped his clients achieve extraordinary performance improvements in 3-6 months while building the skills of the leadership team.
Hugh’s first book, Becoming the Supervisor, is about how to develop the core skills of supervisors. It is told as the story of a young supervisor learning the job.
Hugh has a B.A.Sc. from Waterloo, an M.Sc. from Cornell, and an M.Div. from Vancouver School of Theology. He has taught at UBC, SFU, and BCIT and has written and presented frequently on project management, quality, risk management, lean principles, and supervisory skills.
He lives in Burnaby, Canada with his wife. Hugh can be reached at